The inextricable link between hotels and vendors are purchase managers. The recently concluded Power of Purchase session at FHW 2015 Bengaluru touched upon the challenges of this role and the critical success factors in hospitality procurement By Rituparna Chatterjee
The Power of Purchase session organised by Hospitality Purchasing Managers Forum (HPMF) at the Food Hospitality World (FHW) 2015 Bengaluru exhibition saw purchase managers from some of the leading hotels in the country elaborate on the critical success factors and challenges in hospitality procurement. The panel discussion was moderated by Reema Lokesh, editor, Food & Hospitality World and the panelists included Rajesh Nair, materials manager, Hotel ibis Bengaluru Techpark and Novotel Bengaluru Techpark; Anthony Monteiro, materials manager, The Oberoi Bengaluru; Bhargav Raju, purchase manager, Hilton Bangalore Embassy Golflinks; Shiv Shankar Menon, former regional manager materials – Karnataka, Indian Hotels Company Limited; and Arokiam B, manager materials, GRT Grand, Kakinada.
The discussion started with the panelists suggesting various formulas for successful procurement including being up-to-date about latest products in the market, taking one purchase request at a time, taking the staff along during deals, being cooperative with the vendors, respecting the vendors’ understanding and making them understand your mindset, among others. Elaborating on this, Nair highlighted, “Purchase managers help hotels achieve their primary goals. Hence they need to inform the vendors about their product requirement and train them accordingly, inform them about the budget at which they want the product and so on.”
Making right choices
A pertinent question raised during the discussion was the importance of after sales services and its challenges. Menon suggested, “We should encourage companies to not only sell the material but also provide after-sale services as per our requirement.” While Nair stated that there is an urgent need to empower and train the vendors about their product requirement. Moreover, vendors also need to maintain an adequate stock of spare parts as back-up during an emergency. “The vendor needs to import spares and have adequate back-up so that in case there is a breakdown, there is adequate material at hand to provide the necessary support,” averred Monteiro. Adding to this thought, Raju stated, “While purchasing a product we need to find out its expected utility life and purchase it accordingly.”
Ensuring transparency between vendors and purchase managers was another concerning factor highlighted by the panel. “Transparency needs to work both ways. The purchase manager needs to be careful while selecting his vendor for this relationship needs to be for the long term,” advised Menon. The panel also suggested a need to introduce a vendor rewarding programme and ensure that the vendors are transparent about product specifications. While touching upon the need to procure products locally, Arokiam B opined, “We buy some of our products from areas close to our property. Nowadays, vendors are going to farmers directly for procurement thereby contributing towards their livelihoods.”
E-commerce and e-procurement are the latest trends in purchasing. However, the challenge that needs to be overcome by any purchase manager today is to keep himself updated on the latest trends in the market and create strong partners in the industry.